04/09/04 — Annexation foes prepare legal fight

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Annexation foes prepare legal fight

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on April 9, 2004 2:04 PM

Opponents to Goldsboro's proposed annexation have hired a lawyer, named their group and elected officers.

The meeting room at the Belfast Fire Department packed close to 100 people Thursday, all determined to see the fight against annexation through to the end.

"If we win on April 19, 2004" -- the day the City Council is expected to vote -- "that doesn't mean that the war is over," said Bill Burnette, who was elected president of the newly formed "Good Neighbors United" organization. "We want to stop it forever."

The group hired Jim Eldridge, a Wilmington lawyer who specializes in annexation law, to represent their interests.

Burnette said that Eldridge would immediately begin requiring documents from the city relating to the proposed annexation.

"He will get reams of paperwork, and that can't be ignored," Burnette said. "They'll know we're serious."

Besides hiring a lawyer, the group plans to actively petition legislators to get state annexation laws changed.

Burnette said that though he was pleased with the turnout at Monday's public hearing, he cautioned the crowd about feeling victorious.

He also said that he hoped the people of Goldsboro would speak out against the annexation, once they realized the effect it would have on them.

"For the city to go $7 million in debt to annex this area isn't right," Burnette said. "I've already received some calls from Goldsboro residents that are against it."

Burnette said the feeling among many residents, both in and out of the city, is that "Goldsboro needs to fix their own house before they mess with ours."

The area proposed for annexation is on the east and west sides of Salem Church Road and on the north and south sides of Buck Swamp Road. Some subdivisions, or parts of subdivisions, have been included. They are Ashby Hills, Fallingbrook Estates, Morgan Trace, Buck Run, Pineview Acres, Tarklin Acres and Canterbury Village.

Much of Thursday's meeting was taken up with organizational issues and finding ways to keep everyone informed as the fight progresses.

After coming up with the "Good Neighbors United" name, the group elected officers. Larry Pierce was named vice president, with Sharon Mozingo and Lisa Cantrell sharing the position of secretary-treasurer.

Eight people volunteered as neighborhood captains to keep all the areas informed as the issue continues.